linking you to your next opportunity

If you are a job seeker you’ll be familiar with the automated rejection. You know the one, the email that reads “Dear (insert name), Thank you for your application for the (insert vacancy). Unfortunately on this occasion you were not successful….etc”

Although bad news is better than no news, an automated response doesn’t really help.

What was the reason?

It is impossible to expect a personal rejection to every job you apply for but a few insights can help you understand what a hiring manager is looking for when they read your CV.

I asked 100 Supply Chain Hiring managers in the GCC, the question all job seekers would like to know, “Why?”


So what can we learn from the results? *

Did not have necessary qualifications such as MCips or Masters: I was surprised as MBA’s / Masters / CIPS seem to be on every job description I receive. Maybe hiring managers are much more interested in what you have done rather than what you have learnt? As the industry gets more sophisticated qualifications like CIPS will benefit your career but right now your education (or lack of) is not holding you back. So next time you see a job advert that says “Masters / MBA / MCips mandatory” don’t be put off applying if you have the relevant experience.

Did not have experience specific to the Category / Industry: There seems to be an ongoing battle between job seekers, who believe that experience is transferable vs. hiring managers who want specific industry or category knowledge. The good news for job seekers is that not all hiring managers think like this, the bad news is a lot do. Industry and Category experience is going to give you an advantage, certainly more sophisticated Supply Chain functions (think MNC FMCG’s) are going to want to see some like for like experience.

I think this depends on a few things: How open minded the hiring manager is? Do they even have Categories? What level the role is? For Category Manager roles, direct experience is obviously needed. For entry level and even senior positions direct category / industry experience is less important. But if specifically mentioned in the job advert it is probably for good reason.

Had too little relevant work experience: As expected this was the no.1 reason. Whereas experience can be substituted for attitude, education and ambition – it is still needed. When a job advert says 10 years experience, the truth is 8 will probably do – so definitely apply. But also look at the salary on offer – if it is twice what you are on chances are you are under qualified (or severely underpaid).

Had too much work experience (over qualified): Whilst it is important for succession that people are hired at the right level, it is not particularly important. What hiring managers want is someone who can hit the ground running so “overqualified’ candidates are often welcome. The exception being over qualified candidates who also need to take a pay cut (i.e. those from Oil & Gas). There is an assumption from hiring managers that when candidates take a substantial pay cut –  they’ll keep looking and leave when they find a better position.

Lacked local GCC experience: I expected this to be a bit higher; so candidates without GCC experience should rejoice. I think it depends a lot on where your experience is from; candidates working with MNC’s (anywhere) are looked at favourably and hiring managers are often open to relocating candidates from their own home country. Candidates from developed economies such as EU/UK/US are often targeted when talent can’t be found locally. So whilst local experience is important it is not a prerequisite and people who are physically in the region for interviews are considered ‘local’ candidates. So if you want to relocate to the GCC get yourself over here.

CV was too “jumpy” – i.e. candidate was a job hopper: Amazingly I receive CV’s from candidates who have been with their current employer for 6, 3 even 1 month – The reason they are looking? They accepted the first job they were offered. I understand some people need a job urgently but if that is not the case think about how a 3 month stint on your CV appears when applying for the Perfect role?

No cover letter / CV was not tailored: It is official (most) people do not read cover letters and those that do don’t seem put off if you haven’t written one. Whilst this statement is generally true I think the process of writing a cover letter and tailoring your CV are fantastic preparation for interview. Justifying why you are suitablewhy you are interested and taking the time to read a job description or advert and tailoring your CV all give you an advantage over the competition. So my advice is keep doing it – and take every advantage you can get.


*You may have noticed that the percentages add up to over 100, this is because respondents can choose multiple reasons why a CV was not selected.


– Graham Whitworth, LinkedIn

Leave a Reply